A cyclist in Rome has been filmed riding on the closed-road course of last weekend’s inaugural Rally di Roma Capitale – just as a speeding car taking part in the motorsport event came up behind him. But often, it's cars that ignore closed road signs for cycling events, as road.cc's own editor experienced recently.
Luckily, the driver and his navigator of the vehicle had ample opportunity thanks to the layout of the course to see the cyclist on the road ahead of them, with the vehicle’s brakes put into use to drastically cut its speed as it approached the rider.
The man, on a road bike, had apparently ignored warning shouts from the crowd, but the video shows him glancing backwards a couple of times as the car approaches and he got off the road sharpish as it passed him.
A marshal seems to try and intercept the rider, but he carries on riding, this time on the cobbled pavement to the side of the road, but still inside the barriers.
It’s not clear how the cyclist ended up on the rally’s course, but it’s the first time we’ve seen something of this nature.
All too often, of course, it’s the other way round.
Earlier this month, taking part in the Gran Fondo Campagnolo Roma, road.cc’s own editor Tony Farrelly saw first hand the potential danger of motorists ignoring closed roads, despite months of warning.
"There were audible gasps from onlookers at the recent Gran Fondo Campagnolo Roma when a car appeared coming the other way appeared as riders came round a hairpin bend on one of the faster descents," recalls Tony.
"The Romans really don't like having their roads closed and by the time we encountered this driver there had already been enough encounters with cars and motorbikes (some of them going pretty fast) coming the other way for most riders to be on their guard.
"A few kilometres down the road we were riding through a honking, swearing traffic jam as the locals ignored the police and the road closure in their dash to lunch or the local Ikea."
Still in Italy, the late Marco Pantani suffered multiple leg fractures during Milano-Torino in 1995 after he was hit head-on by a jeep that had got onto the course, his injuries forcing him to miss most of the following season.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.